Upper Klamath Dam Removal

Posted December 8, 2008 by Malina

 The Auburn Dam saga I’ve been writing about recently is just one of many such controversies over dams, water rights, flood control, and conservation issues raging all over the West.  One particulary sticky one involving all the standard issues PLUS farmers, Native Americans, and an important Salmon fishery is the situation on the Upper Klamath River.  The really cool thing here is that groups that have traditionally battled one another have begun to try to collaborate instead.

AO guide Tessa reports:
This is a fascinating time for California’s rivers, and rivers all
over the Western United States, as the government and agencies are
relicensing and relooking at the hundreds of dams that were built over
the past century. The Klamath River, in the far northern reaches of
California, is an especially interesting story. For decades, the
various groups of people that depend on the river for their
livelihood, including the Native Americans, farmers, and commercial
fishermen, have battled over water rights to the Klamath. Recently,
however, with dwindling fish populations and a decreasing availability
of water, the groups have been collaborating to find a solution for
many of the river’s problems. One solution they have come up with is
to remove four major dams in the upper section of the river, restoring
the river to it’s natural state and hopefully reviving the Salmon
runs. This month’s National
Geographic Magazine
has an excellent article outlining the
different issues and overviewing the ongoing debate.

I have been priviledged to enjoy rafting trips on the upper section of
the Klamath River, a beautiful Class IV stretch that runs throughout
the summer. I hope the powers that be come to a resolution that will
keep the Klamath flowing and healthy for generations to come.  For pictures and more info on this watershed visit http://www.klamathriver.org/ .

Here is another interesting article on the Klamath water situation from The Oregonian.


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